Labour re­la­tions board dis­misses FISH-NL cer­ti­fi­ca­tion ap­pli­ca­tion

The Southern Gazette - - Puzzles - NEW­FOUND­LAND AND LABRADOR CANADA

The Labour Re­la­tions Board on Fri­day, Sept. 28, dis­missed FISH-NL’s cer­ti­fi­ca­tion ap­pli­ca­tion.

Fed­er­a­tion of In­de­pen­dent Seafood Har­vesters (FISH-NL) pres­i­dent Ryan Cleary said he’s “ab­so­lutely shocked” by the de­ci­sion.

In a news re­lease, FFAW-Uni­for wrote they are “pleased” with the de­ci­sion by the board, which “con­firmed FFAW-Uni­for’s long­stand­ing as­ser­tion that there are nearly 10,000 in­shore fish har­vesters in our prov­ince, which clearly shows that FISHNL did not have ad­e­quate sup­port to war­rant a vote.”

The Tele­gram spoke with Cleary on Fri­day about an hour af­ter he re­ceived the de­ci­sion from the board. He said he was still read­ing through the nearly 50-page doc­u­ment with a lawyer and plans to make a state­ment the fol­low­ing week.

“At first glance, it ap­pears the Labour Re­la­tions Board has ac­cepted the FFAW’s ar­gu­ment that any per­son who has a fish sale, put in their name, and dues au­to­mat­i­cally de­ducted from their cheque, is a fish har­vester,” Cleary said, adding FISHNL does not ac­cept that ar­gu­ment.

“There’s not one in­shore har­vester in this prov­ince who be­lieves that there are 10,000 of them. No­body be­lieves that. It’s just not true. But the Labour Re­la­tions Board has ap­par­ently ac­cepted that ar­gu­ment, but I can’t see in­shore har­vesters in this prov­ince swal­low­ing that.”

Cleary added it’s too soon to com­ment on whether or not FISH-NL will ap­peal the de­ci­sion.

Mean­while, FFAW-Uni­for’s news re­lease stated the board’s de­ci­sion “ac­knowl­edged the flaws of FISH-NL’s ap­pli­ca­tion and spoke to FISH-NL’s at­tempts to ma­nip­u­late the process.”

The Tele­gram ob­tained a copy of the Labour Re­la­tions Board’s de­ci­sion. It states the board’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion in­di­cated FISH-NL “did not have as mem­bers in good stand­ing a ma­jor­ity of the ex­ist­ing bar­gain­ing unit.”

The de­ci­sion goes on to ex­plain FISH-NL re­quested the board ex­clude cer­tain fish har­vesters from the ex­ist­ing bar­gain­ing unit for the pur­poses of a cer­ti­fi­ca­tion vote based upon cri­te­ria sub­mit­ted by FISH-NL.

“It is not ap­pro­pri­ate for the Board to ex­clude fish­ers from the ex­ist­ing bar­gain­ing unit as re­quested. In the cir­cum­stances, it is not nec­es­sary for the Board to use its au­thor­ity or dis­cre­tion to or­der a cer­ti­fi­ca­tion vote,” the board’s de­ci­sion reads.

Both FISH-NL and FFAW-Uni­for ap­pear to agree on one point – that the process over the past cou­ple of years has re­sulted in un­rest within the in­shore fish­ery.

FFAW-Uni­for’s re­lease stated FISHNL’s “cam­paign of mis­in­for­ma­tion,” paired with a lengthy in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the board, “cre­ated sig­nif­i­cant un­cer­tainty in our in­dus­try over the past two years.”

“The in­shore fish­ery and our coastal com­mu­ni­ties are stronger when we stand united,” FFAW-Uni­for pres­i­dent Keith Sul­li­van was quoted say­ing in the re­lease.

“FFAW-Uni­for’s elected lead­er­ship looks for­ward to mov­ing on from this process and con­tin­u­ing to fo­cus on tack­ling the se­ri­ous is­sues fac­ing our in­dus­try.”

How­ever, Cleary said this de­ci­sion does not mean an end to labour un­rest within the fish­ery.

“If the FFAW-Uni­for thinks for one sec­ond that this is an end to labour strife, labour un­rest in the fish­ing in­dus­try, they’re even more out to lunch than I would have ever be­lieved. … If any­thing, I think that in­shore har­vesters right around this prov­ince are go­ing to be more dis­il­lu­sioned with the sys­tem.

“From my per­spec­tive, the sys­tem is set up to look af­ter the in­ter­ests of the ex­ec­u­tive of the union, of the union, and not the mem­bers.”

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